Last edited 16 Feb 2021

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Finding good building contractors

For detailed guidance about how to find contractors for commercial projects, see: How to select a contractor.

When you start a building project, one of the things that is liable to cause you the most stress is finding a good building contractor. Hiring a builder, dealing with them and their team, and ensuring they do a good job is one of the most stressful things you can do.

No one wants a builder that just builds; we want someone who is going to be understanding and friendly, trustworthy and polite and adaptable. We also want them to be available when it is convenient for us and also ideally costs less than our budget. The majority of these goals are actually achievable if you look for building contractors in the right way.

Generally, the best way to find building contractors is to go by recommendation but there are other ways to ensure that you do not end up hiring a cowboy. Below are some things to remember when you are choosing a building contractor.

A reputable builder will be more than happy to give you references from work they have done previously. When you get references it is a good idea to try and view the building they have done so you can talk to their previous clients and take a good look at the work they have done.

A good builder will give you a comprehensive quote based on the information you give them and they will need to do this to ensure they can do the job properly. You should have an exact idea of what you want before you contact any building contractors as this way they can all quote you on the exact same job and this will give you a good basis for comparison. Any builder who does not give you a detailed quote on paper should be avoided.

A good and reputable builder will always be busy and you should prepare yourself for a wait before your project can start. You may have to wait several weeks or even months before your builder can start your job. When they provide you with a quote you should ask them when they are able to start work. You should be suspicious of a builder that claims to be able to start immediately.

You should agree on the payments to be made before any work starts and a professional builder will know this. It makes it a lot easier for both you and the builder if there is a written contract or agreement in place that covers payment. If any issues then arise with regards to payment, you both have a written document to refer to. Remember to amend the contract to reflect any additional costs if your projects changes.

Building contractors are usually members of one or more building organisations. A builder may have a business card that states they are a member of one of these organisations and you can easily check this by calling the organisation or visiting their website. There are untrustworthy builders out there that claim to be members of professional bodies so it is always worth checking.

Remembering these tips when looking for a building contractor should help you on the way to finding a professional, reputable and reliable builder.


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